Introduce yourself and tell us about Vampr?
My name is Josh Simons. I am the co-founder and CEO of Vampr, a social-professional network that helps creatives discover one another, create new IP, and monetize their work. We’ve been referred to variously as a ‘Tinder for Musicians’ or ‘LinkedIn for Creatives’ – the truth probably lies somewhere in between! As a mobile platform, we’ve been available for download on iOS and Android since February 2017 and have since grown our community to just shy of one million people, with active users in every country on the planet. We are by far the largest community of our kind with over 6 million professional connections brokered on the platform.
What problem is Vampr solving?
Creative people face a networking problem. Who you know and where you live often play a determining role in a creative’s trajectory. And yet success in the creative arts depends heavily on collaboration. If you think about the making of a short music video, even a small indie production, there will usually be at least 20 roles involved, from the artist through to gaffers and playback engineers, and back to the producer of the track. At every stage of the creative process, collaboration is essential. Vampr lowers the barriers to entry by helping creatives discover and connect with one another in a single swipe.
What sacrifices have you made to become an entrepreneur?
Every day! Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. On top of the 70 hour work weeks, I’ve moved overseas away from family and friends. Lived off of savings for long periods of time. Laid off staff during drawn-out capital raises… It’s not always glamorous. But we do this because we believe in our vision and have a fair bit of fun along the way.
What is your marketing strategy for 2021?
We launched a premium subscription service called Vampr Pro in August. This year we’ll probably spend a fair amount of time marketing these premium features to both existing users and prospective customers alike. We’ll optimize the cost of UA through a combination of influencer marketing, organic content, and online advertising.
Tell us about your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
Fundraising is always a challenge, and different every round. I suppose user acquisition was a big challenge in the early days. It took us a solid year to learn how to market cost effectively and onboard thousands of new users a day. One of the more challenging parts of running a social network is the near-constant balance between putting energy into improving the product and marketing the product aggressively. You can’t do one without the other and it’s not easy doing both at once.
What is your long term strategy to grow the business?
Due to the nature of the platform we are already seeing network effects come into play, with 20% of new Vampr users coming via word of mouth. At our current growth rate we forecast 10 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) within five years. On the revenue side we’ve been busy optimizing our free-to-paying customer conversion rate, with a goal to hit Default Alive before the end of the year.
What’s your best advice for new entrepreneurs?
Research your market! Even in unsuccessful ventures an entrepreneur will spend a minimum of 1-2 years of their life working on the vision, and yet one of the reasons that many startups fail is that the market size is considerably smaller than first identified. Coming to this realisation early on might save you a couple years of your life.
Share your favorite quote with us?
“To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
You can find our company website through our various social pages Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. In addition, we’re currently running a crowdfunding campaign where prospective investors and interested parties can ask me questions about the company directly and publicly.
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